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We have developed a bioengineered implant (BI) to evaluate strategies to promote graft survival and function in models of islet transplantation in mice. The BI, sized for implantation within a fold of intestinal mesentery, consists of a disk-shaped, polyvinyl alcohol sponge infused
with a type I collagen hydrogel that contains dispersed donor islets. To promote islet vascularization, the BI incorporates a spherical alginate hydrogel for sustained release of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). BIs that contained 450‐500 islets from syngeneic (C57Bl/6) donors
and 20 ng of VEGF reversed streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetes in 100% of mice (8/8), whereas BIs that contained an equivalent number of islets, but which lacked VEGF, reversed STZ-induced diabetes in only 62.5% of mice (5/8). Between these “+VEGF” and “‐VEGF”
groups, the time to achieve normoglycemia (8‐18 days after implantation) did not differ statistically; however, transitory, postoperative hypoglycemia was markedly reduced in the +VEGF group relative to the −VEGF group. Notably, none of the mice that achieved normoglycemia in
these two groups required exogenous insulin therapy once the BIs began to fully regulate levels of blood glucose. Moreover, the transplanted mice responded to glucose challenge in a near-normal manner, as compared to the responses of healthy, nondiabetic (control) mice that had not received
STZ. In future studies, the BIs described here will serve as platforms to evaluate the capability of immunomodulatory compounds, delivered locally within the BI, to prevent or reverse diabetes in the setting of autoimmune (type 1) diabetes.
Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason, Seattle, WA, USA
Publication date: October 1, 2012
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Cell Transplantation publishes original, peer-reviewed research and review articles on the subject of cell transplantation and its application to human diseases. To ensure high-quality contributions from all areas of transplantation, separate section editors and editorial boards have been established. Articles deal with a wide range of topics including physiological, medical, preclinical, tissue engineering, and device-oriented aspects of transplantation of nervous system, endocrine, growth factor-secreting, bone marrow, epithelial, endothelial, and genetically engineered cells, among others. Basic clinical studies and immunological research papers are also featured. To provide complete coverage of this revolutionary field, Cell Transplantation will report on relevant technological advances, and ethical and regulatory considerations of cell transplants. Cell Transplantation is now an Open Access journal starting with volume 18 in 2009, and therefore there will be an inexpensive publication charge, which is dependent on the number of pages, in addition to the charge for color figures. This will allow work to be disseminated to a wider audience and also entitle the corresponding author to a free PDF, as well as prepublication of an unedited version of the manuscript.